Latin GRAMMY Award-winning Latinx vocalist Mireya Ramos releases her debut solo album, Mireya, on ONErpm with a star-studding affair featuring some of the biggest names in Latin music today, May 31, 2022. Mireya spotlights the acclaimed singer and founder of all-female mariachi band Flor de Toloache alongside special guests Adrian Quesada (Black Pumas), Mike Garson (Davis Bowie), Flor de Toloache, Camilo Lara (Mexican Institute of Sound), Gaby Moreno, Jorge Glem, Claudia Brant, Haydée Milanés, Leo Genovese, Velcro, and Roman Rojas. An autobiographical depiction of a day in the life of Ramos, Mireya unveils stories of Afro-Latino pride, police brutality, Black Lives Matter, unbridled love, break-ups, and self-love.
Mireya dives into the story of a brown girl from Puerto Rico born to a Dominican mom and Mexican mariachi dad; of her nights dancing to New York City hip-hop and at Giant Step events; of jamming on her violin with DJs and bands from all over the world while hustling in Queens and Brooklyn performing mariachi music to make rent. It’s a reflection of her musical globe-trotting adventures from India and New Zealand (with her partner Andy Averbuch) to life-changing mariachi performances at The White House, the Latin GRAMMYs (live set celebrating Ruben Blades, “Person of the Year 2021”), and NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert.
“Mireya represents my path and growth and the experiences that inspired that progress,” says Mireya Ramos. “It’s taken 10 years to bring this album out the way I’ve intended to. The process all started with laying down tracks in 2012 with producer Sinhue Padilha, who now tours with Lila Downs. It’s taken on a whole new life since then with so many of my favorite musicians playing on the recording. Mireya is a carefully crafted, honest portrayal from my soul to the ears and minds of those keen to know what makes me who I am.”
Mireya Ramos — Mireya — Featured Compositions
Ramos sings down the cultural barriers between modern Anglo and Latin music on Mireya, blending genres with textures of Mexican classics while revealing the emotional heritage of America’s future. Mireya opens with “Nunca te voy a Olvidar” with Flor de Toloache, Jorge Glem and Roman Rojas. On the track, Ramos never forgets where she came from and shares the riches of Latin culture with the world.
“La Llama” highlights her collaboration with Adrian Quesada of Black Pumas; Ramos also appears on Quesada’s new album, Boleros Psicodélicos (ATO Records; June 3, 2022), on the track “Tus Tormentas.” A catchy hip-hop beat, thick low-end bass guitar, and Ramos’ violin set the perfect vibe for the duo’s vocals to glide above. With lyrics by Ramos’ brother Velcro, “La Llama” features her rapping debut. Inspired by Stevie Wonder‘s “Master Blaster,” “Canto” takes listeners on a dub-adventure with chill island reggae putting smiles on listeners’ faces. Produced by Andy Averbuch, “Canto” includes a crew of Kiwi musicians from Ramos and Averbuch’s year-long stay in Aotearoa, New Zealand during the pandemic.
“Lady Grinning Soul” by David Bowie gets a Latinx make-over featuring pianist Mike Garson (who plays on the original track on the Bowie album, Aladdin Sane) with Ramos singing in Spanish and English with vocalist Gaby Moreno. The stripped-down version follows Ramos’ full-band single of the track produced by Camilo Lara (Mexican Institute of Sound). The remixed version on Mireya takes the vocals, piano, and strings centerstage.
“Angelitos Negros,” also featuring Camilo Lara, has been with Ramos her entire life with her mother singing it since she was a young child. “Angelitos Negros” speaks to the importance of the representation of black and brown communities, and the lack thereof. In the case of the storyline of “Angelitos Negros,” the whitewashing of BIPOC communities in historical paintings. Ramos took to the streets to perform “Angelitos Negros” at Black Lives Matter protests across the globe. Composed by her cousin Sonia Montez, “Climbing Fences” was inspired by the Michael Brown police shooting case in Ferguson, MS and represents all police brutality cases in black and brown communities.
Mireya rounds out with songs of love and loss. “Mi Mayor Fortuna” is a power-ballad writing collaboration between Ramos and two-time GRAMMY Award-winner Claudia Brant. Ramos channels the great Latin pop singers Laura Pausini and Cristian Castro with her soaring vocals on this heart-wrenching rancheras. Produced by Sonia Montez, “La Golondrina” is a beautiful Mexican classic traditionally performed at funerals and tributes her grandmother, Manisa. Ever since Ramos heard Imogen Heap‘s Hide and Seek, she’s envisioned recording herself doing a version of “La Golondrina” with the vocoder effect. The melody itself is sweet, yet melancholic. The rancheras “Canción Mixteca” features singer Haydee Milanés and Gaby Moreno, who contributes deft electric guitar work underneath the emotive vocal harmonies.
“Quédate Aquí” is equally fit for driving with the windows down and the volume up or on a sweaty dance floor. A cover of New Zealand’s stadium-packing pop behemoth Six60, “Quédate Aquí” is the Latinx summer jam of 2022. “Para Mí” carries an electro-synth soundscape with tasty drums by Stevie Wonder’s touring percussionist, Euro Zambrano. Ramos sings of a difficult ending to a romantic relationship, where her former lover keeps appearing in her dreams while she wishes he was only a faint memory.
“Beauty Free” is a self-assurance hymn, a mantra. Ramos composed the piece when she was not feeling herself, but knew she could rely on the healing powers of music. She wrote “Beauty Free” to remind herself that she is strong, beautiful, and always her own favorite girl.
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